Side Note

Kanye West isn’t done with Wyoming

When I first heard that Kanye West would be hosting the album listening party for his new record ye in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, I thought it was hilarious that the notoriously bougie ski resort town in the notoriously sparsely populated and protective state would be flooded with hypebeasts and conflicted music writers. But with the news today that West is bringing something called #ProjectWyoming to Chicago, Miami, and Brooklyn, I see more clearly what he’s doing. Relying on the general ignorance of its complexity and cultures, West is attempting to adopt an entire state under the umbrella of his own brand. And for a lot of people who otherwise could go months without thinking about Wyoming, it’s likely working.

As Jezebel’s Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, who grew up in Wyoming, wrote shortly after ye merchandise (emblazoned with the state’s name) dropped, “The merch is extremely annoying for someone who has tried to get my friends to come with me to visit my mom for years, and then yet some of those friends who haven’t done so (yes, it’s personal) just happened to pop on a private jet to listen to an album by a guy whose new best friend is Candace Owens.” Now, it seems West has no plans of reeling back his adoption of the state. Much as Justin Timberlake did with the state of Montana earlier this year, West is using the open skies and mountains of Wyoming to signal a new artistic chapter characterized by soul-searching and freedom (in the most exclusive, well-serviced communities in the areas, of course), complete with his own mountain range and bonfire-heavy promotional video. Judging by the tepid reviews to ye, it’s maybe not where he should be looking.

Wyomingites aren’t going to be happy about this one.